Physiological and medical aspects that put women soldiers at increased risk for overuse injuries

Yoram Epstein*, Chen Fleischmann, Ran Yanovich, Yuval Heled

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anthropometric and physiological factors place female soldiers at a disadvantage relative to male soldiers in most aspects of physical performance. Average aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels are lower in women than in men. Thus, women have a lower overall work capacity and must exert themselves more than men to achieve the same output. The lower weight and fat-free mass and the higher body fat of women are associated with lower muscle strength and endurance, placing them at a disadvantage compared with men in performing military tasks such as lifting and carrying weights, or marching with a load. Working at a higher percentage of their maximal capacity to achieve the same performance levels as men, women tire earlier. Their smaller size, skeletal anatomy, and different bone geometry also predispose women to a higher incidence of exercise-related injuries. Consequently, the attrition rate of female soldiers in combat units is higher than that of their male counterparts. This review summarizes the literature on gender-related physiological and anatomical differences that put female soldiers at an increased risk of exercise-related injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S107-S110
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Volume29
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • combat soldiers
  • exercise-related injuries
  • females
  • gender

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